Sen. Paul to Fight Obama's Surgeon General Pick

Image: Sen. Paul to Fight Obama's Surgeon General Pick Vivek Murthy

Thursday, 27 Feb 2014 10:29 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Sen. Rand Paul has vowed to fight President Barack Obama's nominee for Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, due to his connection to the president's influential political group Organizing for America.

The Kentucky Republican has sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid revealing his concerns over whether Dr. Murthy can remain impartial when he has called for stricter gun control laws and "promoted" the Affordable Care Act.

Murthy, 36, a doctor at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and a lecturer at Harvard Medical School, co-founded Doctors for Obama in 2008, later turning it into Doctors for America which advocated the president's plans to reform the healthcare insurance system, according to the Washington Post.

Paul said in the letter that Doctors for America has ties with the "left-leaning think tank" Center for American Progress and has worked closely with Organizing for America.

"I have outstanding questions about who is funding these organizations," said the senator. "And it is clear that more transparency is needed from a group whose influence frequently impacts appointment in the Obama administration."

The Post reported that Murthy pushed for stiffer gun controls in a Twitter message, claiming that that firearms safety was an issue of public health. The tweet said, "Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns, putting lives at risk b/c they're scared of NRA. Guns are health care issue #debatehealth."

Paul wrote, "The majority of Dr. Murthy's non-clinical experience is in political advocacy. Historically, the surgeon general of the United States has been a position with the purpose of educating Americans so that they may lead healthier lives, rather than advancing a political agenda."

"Dr. Murthy has disqualified himself from being surgeon general because of his intent to use that position to launch an attack on American's rights to own a firearm under the guise of a public health and safety campaign."

At a confirmation hearing earlier this month, Murthy insisted that his stance on gun controls would not be an issue if he was approved to take over from acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak, who stepped in when Regina Benjamin resigned in July.

"I do not intend to use my office as surgeon general as a bully pulpit on gun control," said Murthy.

Paul is unlikely to prevent Murthy's nomination because of the new filibuster rules which would mean that the Senate can vote on his nomination despite the senator's objections, the Post added.

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